When I have listened to older Swedes talking about rosehip soup (nyponsoppa), I have enjoyed the happiness of their nostalgic reminiscences as they fondly remember picking rosehips from the hedgerows. Rosehip soup was once a very popular in Sweden and was usually served as a desert, but sometimes it was a starter.
Nyponsoppa is not as popular today now that we have a plethora of choices as a result of increased affluence, freezers and airfreighted fruit. Nonetheless, this a great Swedish classic that anyone who likes Swedish food should try at least once.
There were two important reasons for the popularity of nyponsoppa. Firstly, many Swedes were very poor years ago (large number emigrated to America in the hope of escaping poverty) and rosehips could be picked for free. Secondly, rosehips contain a lot of the vitamins C, D and E, calcium and a load of antioxidants. In the winter months, in a country that can be bitterly cold, they were regarded as an essential part of everyone’s diet. Mothers insisted children drink their rosehip soup for Sunday lunch to stay healthy. It worked for their generation: Swedes have one of the highest life expectancies in Europe
Level: Very easy
Preparation: ¾ hour
Cooking: 1 hour
Total: 1 & ¾ hours
Magical comfort food. A great Swedish classic.
– Look for the largest rosehips that you can. The best hips are large and round from Rosa rugosa, but it tends to be only found in sandy coastal areas. I have to pick hedgerow hips which are smaller and more fiddly.
– Only pick deep-red hips and leave yellow and orange hips for picking later.
– Store rosehips in the freezer. It will make them easier to prepare.
– Homemade rosehip soup is one of life’s seminal delicacies. Be warned: the same cannot be said for instant packets of rosehip soup.
– If you can’t face scooping out the seeds from the rosehips, then wash them, cover with water and bring the water to the boil. Boil until soft, which can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour or more. Whiz in a food processor and then pass through a fine sieve, keeping the liquid and discarding the pulp.
– If using dried rosehips, soak the rosehips in cold water overnight.
– Try adding a tablespoon of orange juice and some grated orange zest to each dish of soup.
– Rosehip soup is served traditionally with mandelbiskvier (almond macaroons). A spoonful of whipped cream or crème fraîche is also nice.
600 g (4 cups) fresh rosehips
2 litres (8 cups) water
100 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
1. Put on some good music and enlist as many helpers as possible. Cut each rosehip in half then scoop out every trace of the seeds and hairy bits. Keep the skins and discard the rest. This is a fiddly job and takes some time.
2. Put the skins in a pan, add the water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until they are soft. Increase the heat and boil steadily for 15 minutes to reduce the liquid.
3. Whiz in a food processor and then strain the liquid through muslin (cheesecloth) and return it to the pan. Add the sugar.
4. Blend the cornflour (cornstarch) with a little of the liquid to form a runny paste. Slowly add the paste to the pan, stirring all the time, then simmer for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.
5. Serve warm or cold, garnished with mandelbiskvier (almond macaroons) and crème fraîche or whipped cream.
Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.